TRENTON, NJ–Governor Chris Christie on August 7 announced his decision to sign legislation that makes it illegal in the Garden State to sell unsafe used tires that pose a risk to motorists.
The bill, A-3896, was first introduced by Assemblywoman Shavonda E. Sumter more than a year ago.
Under the new law, it only takes a single unsafe condition on a tire for a business to be hit with a $500 fine for selling one.
Unsafe conditions include: worn-out tread, visible damage or improper repairs, according to the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), a trade group in support of the legislation.
The legislation does not ban all used tire sales, but instead targets used tires that show specific, well-established, unsafe conditions, according to the USTMA.
Among the bills other supporters were the New Jersey Gas Station-C-Store-Automotive Association, and the Tire Industry Association.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), worn-out tires have triple the likelihood of being involved in a crash than those with sufficient tread depth.
“Tires worn to 1/16th of an inch are considered worn-out and are dangerous because they no longer provide sufficient grip on the road, particularly under wet conditions,” states the USTMA.
Futher, the organization says damaged tires “exposing steel belts or other internal components threaten a tire’s structural integrity.”
Improperly repaired tires that can suffer loss of inflation pressure or have hidden damage, and tires with bulges indicating possible internal trouble that can lead to tread separation.
"We strongly support the New Jersey legislation… The bill did not receive a single no vote throughout the process in committee or floor votes,” said Dan Zielinski, USTMA’s Senior Vice President of Public Affairs.
It passed the Assembly by a vote of 72-0 in November 2016, and then on June 29, it passed the State Senate by a vote of 35-0.
"We believe that this measure will help to reduce the availability of used tires that should never be placed into service due to wear, damage or other known unsafe conditions," Zielinski told NBT.
While NHTSA crash statistics indicate that about 200 fatalities and 6,000 injuries are attributed to tire-related causes annually, USTMA research shows that more than 30 million used tires are available nationwide, per year, to consumers.
Anne Forristall Luke, USTMA’s president and CEO, urged Christie to sign the legislation, noting it will help prevent high-risk, used tires from jeopardizing safety on New Jersey roadways.
“We are very appreciative of Assemblywoman Sumter and Sen. Nicholas Scutari for their leadership and persistence to advance this measure through the Legislature to the governor’s desk,” added Luke.
A Senate floor amendment initiated by Scutari in May clarified the penalty for a violation of the bill's provisions, removing language that would have made "a second or subsequent violation of the bill an unlawful practice under the consumer fraud law."
"A civil penalty of not more than $500 for a first offense and at least $500 and not more than $1,000 for a second and each subsequent offense," reads a statement on the amendment.